Presentation Title

Mortality And The Photograph: Visual Manifestations of the Aesthesis of Death.

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 268

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

As a theoretical concept, death is ubiquitous in the creation of photography. A photograph is captured in a fraction of a second, vacillating between the life and death of that single moment. Through the photograph, the subject becomes object, a static artifact immortalizing the death of a particular fragment of time. The photographer’s creative logic subjectively immobilizes a fleeting moment in its decisive instant. As the photographer approaches his/her own demise, do the travails over mortality shape their technique towards capturing a moment, visually corroborating the interconnection between artist and subject?

Due to their intimate involvement with physical reality, it becomes impossible to deny the presence of the photographer in their photograph. The examination of five photographers, each with diverse backgrounds and manners of death from one another, establishes that while death may be a solitary, unique experience, it is also a universal one. Critical analysis of the last three years of work by Diane Arbus, Imogen Cunningham, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Francesca Woodman suggest the same: as the artist approaches their death, death is regularly seen as both a symbol in and subject of their work.

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Nov 12th, 11:00 AM Nov 12th, 11:15 AM

Mortality And The Photograph: Visual Manifestations of the Aesthesis of Death.

HUB 268

As a theoretical concept, death is ubiquitous in the creation of photography. A photograph is captured in a fraction of a second, vacillating between the life and death of that single moment. Through the photograph, the subject becomes object, a static artifact immortalizing the death of a particular fragment of time. The photographer’s creative logic subjectively immobilizes a fleeting moment in its decisive instant. As the photographer approaches his/her own demise, do the travails over mortality shape their technique towards capturing a moment, visually corroborating the interconnection between artist and subject?

Due to their intimate involvement with physical reality, it becomes impossible to deny the presence of the photographer in their photograph. The examination of five photographers, each with diverse backgrounds and manners of death from one another, establishes that while death may be a solitary, unique experience, it is also a universal one. Critical analysis of the last three years of work by Diane Arbus, Imogen Cunningham, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Francesca Woodman suggest the same: as the artist approaches their death, death is regularly seen as both a symbol in and subject of their work.